This book is beginning to seem like a group project, for I have relied on many friends at every stage of the process. My thanks go out to those who helped me formulate my ideas early on: David Barr, Jill Raitt, Leonard Thompson, Mike White, and my colleagues in the Society of Biblical Literature Seminar “Reading the Apocalypse: The Intersection of Literary and Social Methods. ” Their input enriched my thinking and enhanced this study. Several people helped me better understand the archaeological materials relevant to this study, especially Dieter Knibbe, Ulrike Outschar, Peter Scherrer, and Hilke Thür from the Austrian Archaeological Institute; Çengiz Itçen from the Efes Müzezi, Selçuk; Wolfgang Radt of the German Archaeological Institute; Bert Smith and Chris Rattee of Aphrodisias; and Crawford H. Greenewalt, Jr., and Marcus Rautman from the joint excavations at Sardis. Their hospitality is exceeded only by their knowledge of the sites and by their patience with inquisitive visitors. Long before this project ever started, Helmut Koester and David Mitten piqued my interest in the interpretation of archaeological materials. Even now, several years later, I see their influence in my research.
Some friends read parts or all of the manuscript, and thereby saved me from many problems: Paul Johnson, Leonard Thompson, Sharon Welch, Chris Wilson, and the anonymous readers from Oxford University Press. Theirs was not an enviable task, and I appreciate their gracious methods of correction. Thanks also go to Theo Calderera, Peter Ohlin, and Cynthia Read for editorial assistance.